January 16, 2017 / 10:47 AM / 3 years ago

METALS-Copper retreats on dollar strength after rally to five-week high

* Copper slips after rising nearly 6 pct last week

* Nickel closes lower after Indonesia lifts export ban

* GRAPHIC-2017 asset returns: tmsnrt.rs/2jvdmXl (Updates with closing prices)

By Jan Harvey

LONDON, Jan 16 (Reuters) - Copper eased on Monday as a stronger dollar prompted some investors to cash in gains after last week’s upbeat Chinese and U.S. data lifted the metal to a five-week high overnight.

With U.S. traders absent because of the Martin Luther King Day holiday and wider markets gearing up for U.S. president-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration on Friday, some buyers are taking the opportunity to realise profits in copper.

The metal posted its best weekly performance in seven last week, climbing nearly 6 percent, and touched its highest since Dec. 7 overnight at $5,930 a tonne.

Three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange closed down 0.7 percent at $5,865.

“This is probably just a bit of a pause for breath,” Cantor Fitzgerald analyst Asa Bridle said.

“Everyone is watching and waiting to see what happens this week, with comments from the presidential inauguration and other bits and pieces. We have Janet Yellen speaking about U.S. banking, and a lot of key economic indicators.”

More broadly, the economic backdrop has been supportive for copper of late, he said. “Recent economic data has been positive, particularly from China,” he said.

Chinese customs data on Friday showed that the country shipped in a record 4.95 million tonnes of copper in 2016, while U.S. data revealed retail sales there climbed in December.

Along with other commodities, copper came under pressure from renewed strength in the dollar. The U.S. currency rose 0.4 percent against a basket as investors pondered Trump’s likely economic policies after he takes office on Friday.

LME nickel ended 1.8 percent lower at $10,255 a tonne as news that Indonesia is easing a ban on nickel ore exports weighed on the stainless steel ingredient.

The retreat came despite assurances from Indonesian mining officials that the step would not flood the global market.

“We believe the lifting of the Indonesian nickel ore export ban creates uncertainty on the medium-term direction of nickel prices,” Citi said in a note.

“There are a lot of uncertainties as to how much excess ore will actually come out of Indonesia given all the requirements to be fulfilled before export of ore can begin, the low nickel price (and the) need to ramp up (the) export infrastructure logistics chain.”

LME zinc closed down 1.5 percent at $2,751.50, while lead was up 1.6 percent at $2,268. Aluminium ended the day 0.9 percent lower at $1,792 a tonne, and tin was down 0.4 percent at $21,050.

PRICES

Three month LME copper

Most active ShFE copper

Three month LME aluminium

Most active ShFE aluminium

Three month LME zinc

Most active ShFE zinc

Three month LME lead

Most active ShFE lead

Three month LME nickel

Most active ShFE nickel

Three month LME tin

Most active ShFE tin

Additional reporting by James Regan in Sydney; Editing by Alexander Smith and David Evans

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